Dark Souls Remastered (PC) Review

By Athanasios 28.06.2018 1

Review for Dark Souls Remastered on PC

Those who avoid Dark Souls because of its notoriety as a tough nut to crack, are missing the chance to experience what is, without a single doubt, one of the most important videogames of the last decade - and it's not the difficulty that makes it special. Experienced gamers and, especially, retro ones, can quickly make a list of the hardest titles ever, and Dark Souls probably won't be there. From Software's creation is unique, but not for the reasons most think it is; reasons that range from its masterfully-crafted, immersive, beautifully bleak, interconnected world, and pleasantly vague lore, to its immensely high replayability, and unique approach to online play. As such, the news for a remastered version made people jump for joy. The harsh reality, however, is that you should not get your hopes up…

For those who haven't tried it yet, here's a brief synopsis of Dark Souls: it's a medieval, dark fantasy RPG, set in a world that, whether allegorically or physically (hint: both), is on the verge of dying. The main character is the 'Chosen Undead,' a lucky fellow tasked with… well, something, and who, in order to carry out this something, must brave all sorts of hostile environments; environments that are as enjoyable to explore as they are tough to traverse.

Gameplay-wise it's as hand-holding as the plot at hand is clear (for those who have an irony deficiency: not at all), and forces players to focus on the moment, every moment, and learn from their (many) mistakes, and Praise the Dar… err, Sun. Does this intro do justice to it all? Not really. This is one of those magical titles that must be experienced first-hand in order to understand, as it's far from a conventional and easy to describe piece of software.

The most important question, of course, has to do with what does the Remastered version bring to the table. Before explaining this, though, it should be noted that nothing, absolutely nothing has been removed from or added to the campaign. From enemy placements, and item locations, to the level structure and class balance, this is the good 'ol Dark Souls, as this is simply a technical upgrade - apart from a bonus bonfire, that is…

Screenshot for Dark Souls Remastered on PC

In other words, 4K dynamic resolution, a solid 60fps, and, although yours truly was super lucky and never actually had any issues while traversing Blighttown (cross his heart, and hope to die), it should be mentioned for those who had (and they are many) that this isn't a problem anymore. Add to that some high-quality textures, improved lighting effects, and a couple of tiny visual alterations that help in bringing this post-apocalyptic world to life, and it's easy to conclude that this is the definite version of Dark Souls. Is it, though?

Here's the thing, and bear in mind that this comes from someone deeply in love with the original: it was never a perfect game. This isn't a moan at the various technical issues it used to have (or still has), though. Even if all bugs, glitches, imbalances, and online problems were ironed out, Dark Souls simply had plenty of room for improvement, and this is what many expected from this remaster, besides all that visual enhancements.

…but it didn't. The list of changes at hand are inexcusably tiny, and can in no way be considered 'quality of life' ones, unless being able to gobble up multiple soul-items at once, or a handful of added UI settings count as major game-changers. Some other tweaks are far more welcome, like how it's easier to enjoy some jolly co-op, either with a friend, or with total strangers from all around the world, without the need for any third-party software - but that's about it.

Screenshot for Dark Souls Remastered on PC

Simply put, this isn't a remaster, but a re-release. From enemies that can hit through solid walls, and the rough-around-the-edges hit-boxes, to the user unfriendly menus and, in all honesty, unfinished areas, like Anor Londo, Crystal Cavern, and Lost Izalith, there was simply no effort in "upgrading" this; therefore, in many ways, this doesn't really feel like the definite version, especially since many of the improvements feel like nothing more than mods.

Another problem is that the visual upgrades aren't as impressive as fans came to expect upon laying their eyes on the initial teaser trailer (which was awesome, by the way). Yes, the resolution is now up to par with modern systems, the high-def textures really pop out, the 60fps is a heavenly gift, and the lighting effects do make certain things look far better (especially spell-casting), but this could be so, so much more.

Screenshot for Dark Souls Remastered on PC

Amongst others, Dark Souls Remastered could have the far better lighting and shadow play of Dark Souls II, or the ambient occlusion, special effects (water and such), and higher detail of Dark Souls III, but, instead of those, this just adds a bunch of slightly animated plants, puts all gear in a washing machine, and sticks a price-tag on it. Furthermore, this facelift even downgrades the unique, muddy, tangible feel of some areas, by making them a bit brighter and "cleaner" than needed.

…but a remaster is not supposed to be a remake, right? Well, sort of. The additions/changes at hand are minimal, some bugs and glitched textures still exist (and some new ones have actually emerged), and, generally, this doesn't really look like the big visual upgrade that it was supposed to be. Wrapping up, put torches and pitchforks aside, and accept the fact that your beloved Dark Souls Remastered is just a cash-grab, and one with a wrong price. This deserved better…

Screenshot for Dark Souls Remastered on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Strictly as a videogame, Dark Souls Remastered is the fantastic original, but with a bunch of welcome updates. Purely as a remaster, however, it's disappointing, to say the least. This had the chance to offer the best 'Souls' title (Bloodborne excluded), while also adding improvements from newer instalments - instead, it's just a patch/visual upgrade, and a low effort one at that. Plus, the PC version is currently the buggiest one.

Developer

QLOC

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Del_Duio (guest) 04.07.2018#1

The textures are very strange in this one (I have it for the PS4) and my Sorceror's clothes look almost plastic and way too shiny. I still love the game, because it's still DKS1, but I gotta' agree with this review.

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